Austria (AT)

Jurisdiction Overview

IDQuestionAnswer
477 *BO Record: Does the registration of domestic limited partnerships comprise information on the beneficial ownership of all partners? Yes, all partnerships require recording of all partners’ beneficial ownership.
 Data Date: 2018

Notes

 
Limited partnerships have to inform their beneficial owners to the register (GF 2018: 44). The beneficial owners can be traced automatically in the register in the cases of "limited partnerships (KGs) where all partners are natural persons (the individual partners are automatically imported if they hold more than 25%, and otherwise the top managers entered in the Firmenbuch are imported as beneficial owners into the Register)" (Ibid.: 45). There are some exceptions for the reporting of beneficial ownership in relation to which the Global Forum recommends "to ensure that this exception from the obligation to report the beneficial owners is applied correctly in practice to the limited situations set forth in the law" (Ibid.). Regarding exceptions, "Article 6 of the Beneficial Ownership Act lists the exceptions applicable to providing beneficial ownership information to the register when the direct beneficial owner is a natural person, who can be retrieved directly from the Firmenbuch." (Ibid.: 44). However, "The law provides a caveat if another natural person directly or indirectly exercises control over the top management of the legal entity. In such a case, the legal entity is no longer exempted from the obligation to report its beneficial owners and is required to make a notification. The Austrian authorities indicated that the rationale of this provision is that if the owners are natural persons and are already entered into another national register, the exemption is only valid, as long as no other person is directly or indirectly controlling the legal entity. If this assumption is not true (e.g. because another person is exercising control through other means) the legal entity is obliged to report this person as beneficial owner as well" (ibid.).
 
Austria transposed the 4th EU AML Directive in September of 2017, requiring all legal entities (including general and limited partnerships) to register their beneficial owners in a register that will not be open to the public. The beneficial owners is defined as "a natural person directly holds more than 25% of the shares in an Austrian company; more than 25% of the shares in an Austrian company are held by another legal entity, which is directly or indirectly controlled by a natural person; control in this respect is indicated by directly or indirectly holding more than 50% of shares; or a natural person directly or indirectly holds more than 25% of the voting rights of the Austrian company (...). If a beneficial owner cannot be determined in this way, the natural persons at the top management level are considered as beneficial owners in a subsidiary way" (www.schoenherr.eu).

Sources

https://www.schoenherr.eu/publications/publications-detail/beneficial-ownership-register-to-be-introduced-in-austria/
 
https://www.parlament.gv.at/PAKT/VHG/XXV/ME/ME_00313/imfname_629677.pdf
 
GF 2018: 44-45